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Old 02-07-2009, 08:14 PM   #1
JaneFancher
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Dumber than dirt needs help getting started

Hi, all,

I'm trying to figure how to produce e-book formats of my backlist and new books for sale on the internet. After a couple of hours scanning the topics, I'm frankly a bit snow blind at the moment. These are going to seem like really dumb questions, but I've got to start somewhere.

I see lots of program names being batted about, but am having a bit of a time figuring what they actually do. Is there one program you can format a book in, with text, illos, chapters, title page etc. that can then be converted into the various e-book formats? Or does each format need to be massaged separately with a different program? I use Word Perfect to create the novel, but can, if forced, convert to Word, which I do have on the computer. I'd like to include illos.

Any help getting started so I even know the right questions to ask will be appreciated.
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:18 PM   #2
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Don't worry about sounding 'dumb'

No one here will make you feel that way! How else do we learn?
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Old 02-07-2009, 09:08 PM   #3
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Im assuming you want to produce ebooks of your novels to sell, correct?

If so, the format you will be mostly dealing with is Mobi, both the Kindle Store and the Mobi Bookstore Take them. the program to Make Mobi Books is Called Mobi Pocket Creator.

it mostly depends on a Per Bookstore Basis.

the best place to start might be here https://dtp.amazon.com/mn/signin
at Amazons Digital Text Platform.
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Old 02-07-2009, 09:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andybaby View Post
Im assuming you want to produce ebooks of your novels to sell, correct?

If so, the format you will be mostly dealing with is Mobi, both the Kindle Store and the Mobi Bookstore Take them. the program to Make Mobi Books is Called Mobi Pocket Creator.

it mostly depends on a Per Bookstore Basis.

the best place to start might be here https://dtp.amazon.com/mn/signin
at Amazons Digital Text Platform.
But don't forget us Sony Readers! We need the LRF format, which you can make in BookDesigner. Try your hand making the Mobi books first though.
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Old 02-07-2009, 09:14 PM   #5
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the most i can see for selling in the sony bookstore is http://ebookstore.sony.com/publishers/
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Old 02-07-2009, 09:37 PM   #6
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Probably one of the more universally accepted formats in RTF (Rich Text Format). I don't know the current Word Perfect but would be surprised if it didn't allow saving in RTF. Once there though you need to determine what format your readers want for viewing. Every ebook reader has different formats. To DRM or not to DRM is a question you have to answer as well. Most of us here don't like DRM,

I would just provide a few standard formats and allow buyers to convert as needed. (This is easy if there is no DRM.) Probably Mobipocket, Ereader and LIT would be the main ones.

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-08-2009, 01:29 AM   #7
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If you want to sell from established ebook sites, then you have to do what they want in terms of formatting. So your first job is finding the sites you want to deal with.

If you want to produce DRM-free ebooks in multiple formats to (say) sell from your own web site, then I suggest starting with PDF (even though not many people here prefer this) because it is often the most downloaded format. Open Office has a very good PDF export option, and Word Perfect might as well (if not, see if Open Office will import your word perfect files). One way to support EInk devices is to produce a 2nd PDF formated for a small screen. A typical PDF template (from FeedBooks) is:
Quote:
* size: 90 x 120 mm
* margins: 8 mm for the top, 10mm for the bottom, 7 mm for the left/right
* font: New Century Schoolbook
* font size: 9
However, what you are probably looking for is advice on reflowable formats. The best starting point is a clean single-file HTML (plus images). Again, Word Perfect might be able to produce one for you. Then I would use Calibre to import the HTML and export LRF, ePub and MOBI (and LIT, although this requires using the command line). Calibre has its own forum here. It is not primarily an authoring tool, but if you have a clean HTML version it can do a very good format shift to other formats and it will in addition detect chapters and add a TOC for you. This is where you may have to play with your HTML or with Calibre's "rules" for chapters to get the output to your liking. Spending some time on your first ebook transfer will make the others smoother. Note that if you don't have a HTML version, Calibre can import PDF (if it is very clean, which it might be coming directly from Word Perfect), or multi-file HTML, and several other formats. Generally, HTML is best and single file HTML is simplest.
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Old 02-08-2009, 01:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
If you want to sell from established ebook sites, then you have to do what they want in terms of formatting. So your first job is finding the sites you want to deal with.

If you want to produce DRM-free ebooks in multiple formats to (say) sell from your own web site, then I suggest starting with PDF (even though not many people here prefer this) because it is often the most downloaded format. Open Office has a very good PDF export option, and Word Perfect might as well (if not, see if Open Office will import your word perfect files). One way to support EInk devices is to produce a 2nd PDF formated for a small screen. A typical PDF template (from FeedBooks) is: However, what you are probably looking for is advice on reflowable formats. The best starting point is a clean single-file HTML (plus images). Again, Word Perfect might be able to produce one for you. Then I would use Calibre to import the HTML and export LRF, ePub and MOBI (and LIT, although this requires using the command line). Calibre has its own forum here. It is not primarily an authoring tool, but if you have a clean HTML version it can do a very good format shift to other formats and it will in addition detect chapters and add a TOC for you. This is where you may have to play with your HTML or with Calibre's "rules" for chapters to get the output to your liking. Spending some time on your first ebook transfer will make the others smoother. Note that if you don't have a HTML version, Calibre can import PDF (if it is very clean, which it might be coming directly from Word Perfect), or multi-file HTML, and several other formats. Generally, HTML is best and single file HTML is simplest.
Of course, this totally ignores the fact that PDF cannot, at this time, re-size the fonts from 9pt to, 14pt, 18pt or 24pt on the fly. Thus, for those of us who find ourselves reading in a wide variety of lighting levels, PDF is absolutely CRAP for an e-ink reader.

Stick with RTF or XHTML as your base format.

Derek
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Old 02-08-2009, 04:38 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by desertgrandma View Post
Don't worry about sounding 'dumb'

No one here will make you feel that way! How else do we learn?
Thanks! I'm just used to "getting" tech things pretty easily and there's just a whole lot to consider in this undertaking. I'm delighted with the quick response. I haven't done a lot on message boards, so I didn't know quite what to expect.

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Old 02-08-2009, 04:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andybaby View Post
Im assuming you want to produce ebooks of your novels to sell, correct?

If so, the format you will be mostly dealing with is Mobi, both the Kindle Store and the Mobi Bookstore Take them. the program to Make Mobi Books is Called Mobi Pocket Creator.

it mostly depends on a Per Bookstore Basis.

the best place to start might be here https://dtp.amazon.com/mn/signin
at Amazons Digital Text Platform.
Definitely. Which is something else I need to ask about...but that will come in on another topic!

I was going to ask if I had to buy the professional version of Mobi Pocket Creator, but it looks like they're all free! Amazing.

I've been to the Kindle site and had taken that rather as an of course. I was mostly interested in a single program that might take, say, a Mobi or HTML file and translate it to the other file formats.

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Old 02-08-2009, 04:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaneFancher View Post
Thanks! I'm just used to "getting" tech things pretty easily and there's just a whole lot to consider in this undertaking. I'm delighted with the quick response. I haven't done a lot on message boards, so I didn't know quite what to expect.

Realize this is not your typical 'message board'. Its a world wide forum, with many talented and helpful members.

The only agenda you'll find here is wanting to get more people to read.....on e-book devices

I can't believe how much I've learned in the last 8 months.

Just watch out for the Monkeys, dogs, llamas and socks.
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Old 02-08-2009, 04:54 PM   #12
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But don't forget us Sony Readers! We need the LRF format, which you can make in BookDesigner. Try your hand making the Mobi books first though.
That's exactly what I'm trying not to do. I'd like to make them available in all sorts of formats on my website at reasonable download rates so people aren't quite so inclined to pirate. (sigh)

I actually went looking for this program after my first flit through this forum, and haven't been able to find it. Could you possibly send me a download URL? I'd sure appreciate it. (I think that's when I started feeling totally dumb. )

thanks!
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Old 02-08-2009, 05:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by JaneFancher View Post
That's exactly what I'm trying not to do. I'd like to make them available in all sorts of formats on my website at reasonable download rates so people aren't quite so inclined to pirate. (sigh)

I actually went looking for this program after my first flit through this forum, and haven't been able to find it. Could you possibly send me a download URL? I'd sure appreciate it. (I think that's when I started feeling totally dumb. )

thanks!
It's somewhere around here, but don't ask me because I think I downloaded the old version. Someone have a better link?
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Old 02-08-2009, 05:04 PM   #14
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Probably one of the more universally accepted formats in RTF (Rich Text Format). I don't know the current Word Perfect but would be surprised if it didn't allow saving in RTF. Once there though you need to determine what format your readers want for viewing. Every ebook reader has different formats. To DRM or not to DRM is a question you have to answer as well. Most of us here don't like DRM,

I would just provide a few standard formats and allow buyers to convert as needed. (This is easy if there is no DRM.) Probably Mobipocket, Ereader and LIT would be the main ones.

Hope this helps.
Very much so. Thanks. Gives me sort of a minimum starting point.

RTF, no problem. CJ and I taught a lot of publishers how to use their computers back in the 80's.

The jury's still out on the DRM thing. I'm thinking (just thinking, mind you!) of using DRM but making non-DRM available off my website to people willing to fully register with me. I'm just not sure, yet. I can understand wanting to put the file on various readers, hence a need for a single/buyer to want it in multiple formats, but as a basic deterent to the general consumer who has only one device...I just don't know yet. I've only started considering the question. I'm not sure what abilities of that sort the web host can offer.

As you can tell, I'm truly just starting to address the problem!
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Old 02-08-2009, 05:07 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by desertgrandma View Post
Realize this is not your typical 'message board'. Its a world wide forum, with many talented and helpful members.

The only agenda you'll find here is wanting to get more people to read.....on e-book devices

I can't believe how much I've learned in the last 8 months.

Just watch out for the Monkeys, dogs, llamas and socks.
World-wide. I LIKE that. Hi, world!

Monkeys...dogs...llamas...cool. But I'm kinda worried about those socks. Do they bite?
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